Corporate Failures to Prevent Serious and Organised Crimes: Foregrounding the ‘Organisational’ Component

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This article analyses a recent policy shift in the UK towards criminalising corporate failures to prevent serious and organised crimes that occur within their organisational structures and business operations. More specifically, through legal and normative compulsion (variously persuasive), the state has sought to change the behaviour of otherwise non-criminal, commercial enterprises by requiring the implementation of internal procedures and systems considered adequate, or reasonable, enough to prevent serious crimes. In this article we focus on the three phenomena that have emerged most prominently in relation to this policy shift: i. corporate bribery in international business, ii. the facilitation of (transnational) tax noncompliance and iii. modern slavery in supply networks. In relation to these three major social issues, we foreground the failures of corporations, their policies, procedures, cultures and structures, to prevent their employees, subsidiaries and associated persons engaging in or facilitating such serious criminal behaviours i.e. the ‘organisational component’. We conclude by arguing in favour of holding corporations to account for failures to prevent serious crimes within their organisational structure but identify issues in the conceptualisation and operationalisation of such offences.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe European Review of Organised Crime
Publication statusPublished - 2018